Tips on planning your holiday

Planning ahead to save money

  • Book early to get the best flight and hotel deals – there are early booking deals, blocks of seats on first come first served. Late deals are mostly a thing of the past. This is especially true over school holidays. You must book early
  • Taking advantage of seat sales. I bought a ticket for myself in September travel February London-Dubai-Sri Lanka – Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-London £560
  • Be prepared to fly on “funny airlines”. eg China Southern is £670 return to Brisbane on January 16 and be prepared to fly indirect. Sometimes the break, although adding to your journey gives you a chance to stretch your legs
  • Be flexible eg midweek, early morning, late at night – this could save you a lot of money
  • If you don’t want kids around you avoid school holidays and get cheaper prices too.
  • Take advantage of the strong pound – buying your accommodation now for next year, in most cases you can pay just a small deposit
  • Read reviews to get a big picture but take them with a pinch of salt. Lots of bad reviews is a bad property. I don’t offer less than 3.5 blobs. If a property has 4 blobs or better on Trip Advisor its worth considering even with a few bad reviews after all you can’t please everybody and if 7 or 8/10 like it, it should be fine

 

Practicalities

  • Make sure you actually can get from A to B. Sometimes it looks really obvious that A to B is possible but the service may not operate at the right times, they may not connect on the right days or in the right season and also remember that if a route existed last year it may not exist this year eg London-La Palma. It is my job to plan a route that works best with your dates. It is much easier to plan what works first and then fill the holes afterwards than to book bits and pieces and then find it can’t be done.
  • Make sure passports are well in date especially if you book a long way in advance. Some countries require 6 months. If possible have this to hand when you book your holiday/flight. I usually have to put dummy details in and it is harder to change them than put them in in the first place. I had 3 people that had to get emergency passports in July
  • Make sure that you have visas if required for the country you are visiting. It is easy forget that you need visas for some popular destinations like Cuba, Goa, Sri Lanka, Australia, USA and now Canada
  • Ask yourself why its cheap. Is it a genuine special offer or is it out of season, is it miles out of town, up a hill away from the beach, are there building works going on
  • If you don’t sleep well on long flights, try and choose a flight that is most efficient on jetlag. One that arrives in the evening works best for me as it lessens the time I have to stay awake. If there is a night flight involved choose one that will allow a few hours sleep. eg avoid a change after midnight with a flight of less than 5 hours on the second leg
  • Check your mobile/data network before you go. One of the networks is free for EU only and O2 is £2 a day for EU and Canaries which is worth it to me but some networks can be very expensive.

 

 

Protecting yourself

  • Make sure you have EHIC for Europe
  • Make sure insurance covers your needs. Do you have a pre existing illness. You need to tell them otherwise you wont be covered
  • Book as much as possible with a travel agent, Travel Counsellors have everything protected either by ATOL or our financial guarantee. We also have the connections to help if you need assistance in resort
  • Many well known hotel only sites are not regulated, they may be registered overseas so may not have any redress if they go bust. All the companies we use do health and safety checks and are financially sound
  • If you will be arriving at night put mozzie protection in your hand luggage under 100mls
  • Put prescribed medication in your hand luggage and get a doctors note. Security will allow over 100mls as long as you have a doctors note.
  • If you are pregnant, have a heart monitor, hip or knee replacement, need oxygen you must advise in advance and take a doctors note
  • Check well in advance with your GP whether your destination requires vaccinations or malaria tablets. Are yours up to date?

 

Packing

  • Small and light wherever possible. A long sleeved shirt/blouse, a light cardigan and or waterproof weigh less than a jumper
  • Check your luggage allowance and the size of your bags. If you want to save on luggage cost Cabin Max bags are very useful. Lots of space and lots of pockets.
  • If travelling on a low cost airline your hand luggage may have to go in the hold. Bring a spare canvas bag or carrier bag with any valuables that you don’t want out of sight eg wallet, ipad, phone etc.
  • If you are restricted on luggage shoes weigh a lot. If you going to a hot place wear sandals you will not need shoes. If it will be cold wear your heaviest shoes and pack light ones. Same with clothes.
  • If you are using the gym take plimsolls
  • Pack your toiletries in an oblong lunch box Poundland. This will fit neatly in your case.
  • Buy washing sheets Dizolve are about £4.50 on ebay
  • 99pc of holiday resorts sell everything you need in the local supermarket. It might be a little more expensive but not worth wasting luggage space.
  • Sun Tan Lotion is often cheaper in resort or buy when its half price in your local supermarket but buy a high factor especially if you are light skinned. I take a small high factor for my nose,
  • Savers are currently doing unsweetened coffee/milk sachets for £1
  • If you staying in a 4* or better they will have soap, shower gel and shampoo so you don’t need to bring them
  • Bring flight socks for long flights in your hand luggage
  • Bring a washing line Poundland

 

The airport

  • Make sure your devices are charged especially if going to the USA. You might want to use it on the flight anyway
  • Make sure all your liquids are under 100mls and in a plastic bag before you go to the airport. This saves fiddling around
  • Make sure your documentation is in the right order and that it is all there. I always send documents in a wallet in the correct order to make things easy for you
  • Remember to switch off cellular data especially if you are outside the EU. Even a few minutes can cost a lot of money
  • Use the cash machine at your outbound airport, even if its £10-£20. This tells your bank you are leaving the country

On the flight

  • Bring water on board. Annoying to have to pay airport prices but important to keep hydrated on board
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol or caffeine before or during a flight. You will dehydrate more quickly

 

Enhancing your resort experience

  • Organise excursions in advance. They are often cheaper in advance and some things do get full eg Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, La Scala operas and The Last Supper
  • Transfers can often be cheaper in advance eg Malta taxi 25 euros locally £12 booking in advance, Majorca £25-39 euros in resort £10 in advance with meet and greet and how nice to be met by a driver who will help you with your cases
  • Drink plenty of water
  • If you travel often keep a few small euro and dollar notes and larger coins, they are always useful for tips, bus fares etc.
  • Book car hire well in advance for peak season as they do run out and make sure the boot is big enough for your luggage. It is cheaper to upgrade in advance than in resort
  • Check out Trip Advisor for the best local restaurants
  • Check out Google or the local tourist office for fairs, festivals and markets
  • Get a map. I do try to supply these wherever possible or a guide book
  • If it’s a city check if museums close on certain days usually Mondays or if they are free on certain, times, days eg Prado after 6pm
  • There should be no need to pay for wi-fi these days. Paying for it doesn’t guarantee a better service
  • Take advantage of local crafts and local specialities, this also helps the local economy.
  • Try to look up a few words of the language even if its just good morning and thank you
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